Biography of Michio Kushi
Michio Kushi was born into a family of educators in Japan on May 17, 1926. As a boy, he lived for a time in Hiroshima, where his father was professor of Western history at the university, specializing in the Renaissance. His mother taught at the Catholic Women's Holy Ghost High School in Akita city and later served as a judge in the family court in Tokyo.
During World War II, Michio Kushi studied political science and law at Tokyo University. The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki made a deep impression on him, and he decided to devote his life to world peace and harmony. After the war, he continued graduate studies in Tokyo in international law. With the support of Norman Cousins, editor of the Saturday Review of Literature, Professor Shigeru Nanbara, chancellor of Tokyo University, and Rev. Toyohiko Kagawa, the Christian evangelist, he came to the United States in 1949 to pursue his studies of global peace.
In New York, Michio Kushi continued graduate studies at Columbia University. He began to question the possibility of changing society through primarily political and social means and visited with Albert Einstein, Thomas Mann, Upton Sinclair, Robert M. Hutchins, Harold Urey, Pitirim Sokorin, and other prominent scientists, authors and statesmen. They all encouraged him with his search but told him they knew of no lasting solution to make humanity peaceful.
In Japan, Michio Kushi had studied briefly with George Ohsawa at the Student World Government Association in Hiyoshi, near Tokyo. Ohsawa taught that food was the key to health and that health was the key to peace. By returning to a traditional diet of whole, natural foods, he believed that humanity would regain its physical and mental balance and become more peaceful. While living in New York, Michio Kushi experienced positive changes in his own health and consciousness after changing his way of eating. Over the next ten years, with the support of his wife, Aveline, Michio Kushi began to study traditional and modern approaches to diet and health and natural order and to teach macrobiotics (the Greek term for "Great Life" or "Long Life," first used by Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine.
In the early 1960's, Michio Kushi and his family moved to Boston and founded Erewhon, the nation's pioneer natural foods distributor, to make organically grown whole foods and naturally processed foods available. These included brown rice, whole wheat berries, millet, barley, and other whole grains; miso, tofu, tempeh, tamari soy sauce, natto, and other soy products; a wide variety of fresh vegetables and fruits; azuki beans, chickpeas, lentils, and other beans; kombu, wakame, and other sea vegetables; rice cakes, sunflower and sesame seeds, barley malt and rice syrup, bancha tea, and other good quality snacks and beverages; and unrefined vegetable quality oils, sea salt, and other seasonings and condiments. Erewhon Trading Company was sold in 1983.
During the last twenty-five years, Michio Kushi has lectured in the United States and around the world on diet, health consciousness, and the peaceful meeting of East and West. In 1971 his students founded the East West Journal, and in the following year the East West Foundation was started to spread macrobiotic education and research. In 1978, Michio and Aveline founded the Kushi Institute, and educational organization for the training of future leaders of society, including macrobiotic teachers, councelors, and cooks, with affiliates in London, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Florence, Barcelona, Lisbon, and other European capitals. As a further means toward addressing problems of world health and world peace, Michio Kushi established Macrobiotic Congresses which met periodically in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and the Caribbean, drawing delegates from many states and nation.
In the 1980s, Michio Kushi met with government and social leaders at the United Nations, the World Health Organization, UNESCO, the White House, and in many foreign countries. His seminars and lectures on the relation of diet and degenerative disease and the reconstruction of modern humanity have attracted thousands of doctors, nurses, nutritionists, and other health care professionals. Medical researchers at Harvard Medical School, the Framingham Heart Study, Boston University, Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital in New York, and other universities, hospitals, and clinics have reported on the benefits of the macrobiotic diet in The New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association , and other professional journals. The Lemuel Shattuck Hospital in Boston, the Powhatan State Penitentiary near Richmond, Virginia, and other institutions began serving macrobiotic food prepared by graduates and teachers of the Kushi Institute.
In 1987 Michio Kushi, his wife, and a team of macrobiotic medical associates were invited by the government of the Republic of the Congo to visit West Africa and give a symposium on the macrobiotic approach to AIDS in Brazzaville. The conference was convened at the World Health Organization regional headquarters and was attended by two hundred doctors. In 1989, Michio Kushi visited Yugoslavia and Hungary and was invited by officials in the ministries of health and food production to develop more natural approaches to agriculture and health treatment in those countries. Meanwhile, macrobiotics spread to the Soviet Union and other Eastern European countries, especially among physicians and health care practicioners.
In the 1990s, Michio Kushi developed the One Peaceful World Network--a global membership organization of macrobiotic friends, businesses, educational centers, and other associations--which helps lead the planet safely into this century and ensure humanity's continued biological and spiritual evolution. Toward this end, a One Peaceful World Village is being constructed in Becket, Massachusetts, on the Kushi Institutes's 600-acre site in the Berkshire Mountains. In addition to new educational facilities, the Village will eventually develop into a self-supporting community for macrobiotic friends and families from around the world. In 1987, Michio and Aveline Kushi began annual One Peaceful World Tours to Japan to introduce Westerners to the culture of the Far East, and in 1989 the first One Peaceful World Tour to America was introduced, bringing 30 Japanese to the West. In the future tours to Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Latin America will be developed.
In 1995 demand for macrobiotic services increased as the organization of a new food corporation for the distribution of the highest quality macrobiotic food in retail health food stores and the offering of exquisitely prepared full macrobiotic meals at major international hotels both signaled the continuation of Michio Kushi's commitment to making available the best quality food to the largest number of people. The Kushi Macrobiotics Corporation, offering products for sale in retail stores under the founding of the Kushi Institute, began offering full course macrobiotic meals of the highest and most unique quality in all its hotels worldwide. These and other efforts continue to enlarge the field of individuals familiar with macrobiotics.
Over the years, Michio Kushi's life and teachings have been profiled in the Boston Sunday Globe Magazine, Life Magazine, The Saturday Evening Post, Paris-Match, Interview Magazine, and many other publications. He has been a guest speaker at the American Holistic Medical Association, the International Physicians Conference on Cancer, The Worldwide Congress on Human Rights, Le Linge Blue, and the World Symposium of Humanity. In 1985, he was named General President of the World Federation of Natural Alternative Medicine, an association of 300 natural medical health care organizations with international headquarters in Madrid.
Michio Kushi has written several dozen books including The Book of Macrobiotics (Japan Publications, revised edition, 1987), The Cancer-Prevention Diet (St. Martin's Press, 1983), Diet for a Strong Heart (St. Martin's, 1985), One Peaceful World (St. Martin's, 1987) and AIDS, Macrobiotics, and Natural Immunity (Japan Publications, 1990). He and his wife have five children and thirteen grandchildren.
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